Experience the food, wine and tranquil scenery of Tuscany, Italy on this week-long, small-group vacation in Chianti, the heart of Tuscany. Open your appetite to the bold flavors of the region and its wine. Enjoy the evening light in the countryside that will inspire, if not meditation and philosophy, definitely more wine drinking. Stay at a luxury Tuscan villa in a Tuscan hilltown, surrounded by rolling hills and vineyards. In addition to three Tuscan cooking classes, you’ll spend the week enjoying the bounty of Tuscany’s food and wine at some of the region’s best restaurants and wine estates. Visit some of the most beautiful villages in all of Italy and the cities of San Gimignano and Siena. Take a breathtaking drive through the UNESCO World Heritage Val d’Orcia while stopping in Pienza and a cheese farm and Montalcino to taste its fabulous Brunello di Montalcino. Along with Brunello, you will taste and learn all about the famous wines of Tuscany, like Chianti, Chianti Classico, Super Tuscans, Rosso di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. This vacation provides it all and it is all-included in your vacation package price.
2018 Vacation Dates:
$3,950 per person (based on double occupancy)
Single Supplement Charge: $550 per person
Maximum Group Size: 12 people
FOOD LOVER’S IN FLORENCE EXTENSION PACKAGE: Extend your Tuscany visit with 2 nights in Florence. Ask about the 2-night food & art extension package after your Tuscany vacation.
MAKE THIS A PRIVATE GROUP VACATION: This vacation is also availabile for private-group bookings from 4 – 12 people throughout the year.
**Airfare, transportation to Florence (if flying in from elsewhere in Italy/Europe), travel insurance and expenses of a personal nature (souvenirs and other personal items) are not included in the vacation package price.
“Awesome trip!!! Thank you Kathy for giving us so many amazing experiences, great food and wonderful company to share it with. Best trip ever!” – Michelle (Flower Mound, TX)
“It was absolutely amazing. We had the best guides, the best food, and the best experiences. There is no way I could have planned a trip like this on my own. Can’t wait for my next Food Lovers Odyssey to France in 2018.” – Aimee (Flower Mound, TX)
“What an amazingly fun trip! One of the best adventures I have experienced. Looking forward to traveling with Kathy again next year.” – Judy (Huntsville, AL)
“It was the best trip on so many levels….cooking, food, art, painting and friends. It doesn’t get any better than that!” – Melanie (Dallas, TX)
SEE PHOTOS FROM OUR VACATIONS: FLO Vacations Photo Gallery
THE COOKING CLASSES, FOOD TOURS AND WINERY VISITS
We’ll have three full-meal, hands-on Tuscan cooking classes; one with our favorite Italian mammas and Chef Kathy. In each class you’ll create typical Tuscan dishes. Receive a recipe Food Lover’s Odyssey Tuscany Recipe book and recipes for all dishes you made during the week.
We’ll visit four wineries and learn about the various types of wines of the region: Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile, Super Tuscans and others. We’ll visit a special and unique farm where they make olive oil and wine and raise the famous Cinta Senese (Tuscan pigs). Here the owners will take us on a tour of their farm and we’ll feast on the farm’s products for lunch. The week includes guided visits to a Tuscan food market and a visit to a Pienza cheese maker to learn and taste the famous regional cheese. You’ll have a local historical expert as your private guide for visits to Siena, San Gimignano and Montalcino.
CITIES AND TOWNS YOU’LL VISIT DURING THE WEEK
Day 1: Arrival day – Arrive and Relax at your hotel in the Chianti Countryside – Wine reception and welcome dinner
We’ll have an afternoon pick up scheduled for those flying to Florence’s airport or we will meet you at Florence’s Santa Maria Novella train station at 3pm. From there we’ll drive to our countryside villa, stopping on the way at the Piazzale Michelangelo for a breathtaking view of the Florence skyline.
You’ll have the afternoon to get settled into your room at the villa and to explore the grounds or relax poolside. In the evening we’ll gather together for an orientation walk through our Tuscan village. Afterwards, at the hotel’s winery enjoy a welcome wine-tasing reception and then dinner.
Day 2: A Day of Chianti Wines and Hilltowns
Learn all about what makes Chianti wines so special. We’ll spend the day enjoying Chianti wines and its hill towns. Take a guided visit with tastings to two local wineries, one in Greve-in-Chianti and the other in the hilltop village of Montefioralle. At our first winery, we’ll have a lovely lunch paired with the winery’s wines. After lunch, visit the center of Greve for a little shopping break and learn about Tuscan salami from an artisan.
After your day in and around Greve-in-Chianti, arrive back at the hotel about 5pm, and relax or roam the village until dinner. Dinner will be at a local trattoria.
Day 3: San Gimignano – Tuscan Cooking Class
Spend the morning and part of the afternoon visiting the picturesque hilltop town of San Gimignano, known as the “Manhattan” of Tuscany for its towers. You’ll start with a short walk around the city with our local guide. After our walk, you’ll have free time to explore and shop in San Gimignano. We will have a light lunch together before heading back to our hotel.
Ready, set, cook! This evening, it’s time to get cooking. Your first Tuscan Cooking Class will include traditional dishes and a dessert from the region. Dinner will be what we cook.
Day 4: Siena and its Wednesday Market – Dinner in the walled village of Monteriggioni
After breakfast we’ll enjoy a full-day exploring Siena, a beautiful, medieval city. Our local historical guide will join us and provide an expert insider’s view of the market, the Gothic architecture, the famous Piazza del Campo, the history of the contrade and Siena’s Palio, and, its culinary traditions.
You will get an introduction to the market before having a little time on your own to shop. After the market, take a memorable walking tour filled with fascinating information about Siena. We will stop for a light lunch near Piazza del Campo. After lunch we will finish our walking tour with a visit to the Duomo. You’ll have the rest of the afternoon free to explore Siena on your own.
In the early evening, we’ll take a short ride to the ancient walled village of Monteriggioni. You’ll have time to explore the village on your own, and possibly walk along part of the wall, before our Tuscan dinner together.
Day 5: Castellina in Chianti Farm Visit – Evening Cooking Class
Today you can sleep in as we will start with a late-morning visit to an olive oil & salami farm just outside of the center of Castellina in Chianti, where the owners will take us on a tour of the farm and explain the oil-making and salami-making process. Lunch will be a sampling of the farm’s products with a local wine.
After our lunch, you will have a free afternoon to enjoy the historic center of Castelllina-in-Chianti and its shops, the hotel’s pool, or sample more Tuscan wines at the many enotecas in Castellina.
In the evening, you’ll learn more about Tuscan cuisine during your second cooking class. Dinner will be what we cook in class.
Day 6: Val D’Orcia – Pienza and an artisan cheese farm – Winery visit with Brunello di Montalcino wine tasting – Pizza Dinner
After breakfast, we will visit the “ideal Renaissance city” of Pienza (designed by Pope Pius II). Pienza is also popular for its pecorino cheese. Just outside of Pienza, we’ll visit an cheese farm and learn the history of Tuscany Pecorino cheese and have a tasting of the farm’s cheese.
After our cheese tasting, we will take a drive along the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Val d’Orcia. This valley, appears in most of the classic Tuscan photographs that inspire Tuscan vacation dreams. We’ll take a few photo op stops on our way to Montalcino. In Montalcino we will visit its castle and historic center along with a prestigious winery to taste the famous Brunello di Montalcino. In the evening, after our return from Montalcino, we’ll enjoy a pizza dinner together.
Day 7: Tuscan Cooking Class – Afternoon in Siena – Farewell Dinner
This morning we’ll have our final cooking class together with a local Italian mamma. After lunch you’ll have the afternoon free in Siena to enjoy this medieval city and do any last-minute shopping or museum visits. In the evening we’ll have a fun and wine-filled farewell dinner at our hotel.
Day 8 Arrivederci Tuscany
After breakfast, transportation will take you to the Florence airport or train station. We will leave at 8:30am.
**Sequence of classes, activities and excursions may vary. The final itinerary will be given to each guest on the first day of the vacation. Whenever there are local festivals or events happening during a tour, we will try to include them with adjustments to the itinerary to enhance your vacation experience.